Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 20th, 2023. In today’s article, I have two big reviews for you to dig into. First up is Square Enix’s amazing Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, whose score I already telegraphed in the new release summary last week. Then we’ve got NISA’s also excellent Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society, an RPG I loved diving into. There are some new releases today, but nothing really much worth noting. After that, it’s the usual lists of new sales and outgoing discounts. Let’s get to work!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Theatrhythm Final Bar Line ($49.99)
Typically, a curtain call is the end of a performance. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call on the Nintendo 3DS included 221 songs in the base game and another 100 songs as DLC, and at the time of its release I truly felt that was the ultimate version of Theatrhythm for the Final Fantasy series. I even bought all of the DLC because I figured it was the last we’d see of those games I loved so much. But some people can’t help but come out for another encore, and here we are. Theatrhythm is back for the Final Bar Line.
Just as Curtain Call did to the original Theatrhythm, Final Bar Line blows up the song count considerably from the previous game. The game’s standard edition includes 385 songs, and an additional 27 songs are available through the digital deluxe edition or add-on DLC. Further to that, more songs are available through three season passes. If you were to buy everything, you’d have around 500 songs to play. Not all of these are Final Fantasy tunes, of course. As with Curtain Call, there are songs from various other Square Enix games like SaGa, The World Ends With You, NieR, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Secret of Mana, Octopath Traveler, and many more.
Aside from the tracklist, the biggest change in this game is its removal of touch controls. You could use button controls in the last game, but the note charts had to take both styles of play into account and were thus limited in some ways. You have to use button controls this time, and with that in mind the charts throw a lot of new tricks at you. You’ll have to do dual-button presses, combinations that require two sticks, and so on. If you primarily played with touch controls before it will probably take some getting used to, but once you do it’s more than fine.
Another big change is in how those songs are presented to you. The original game had you go game by game through the series in a very structured format. Curtain Call on the other hand leaned into the Street Pass feature of the 3DS, allowing you to share various quest maps with other players that you could challenge to unlock the game’s many extras. If you didn’t want to deal with that, all of the songs were available to play at your leisure. Final Bar Line feels more like the first game, allowing you to tackle the many games in the franchise in your order of choosing, playing the selection of songs in the same rough order you would probably encounter them in the original games.
Each song offers an extra challenge beyond simple completion that will reward you with extra goodies. Once you’ve played a song, it will be unlocked for free play in another mode. You’ll earn experience points for your chosen characters when you play a song in any mode, and as they level up they’ll learn new abilities you can assign. You can also assign a summon, airship, and Moogle costume to your group. When you play any stage, you’ll earn some treasures that offer up random goodies. Oh, and there’s also a multiplayer mode which is rather fun even if it feels more like a side dish.
Is this really the end of Theatrhythm? If so, Final Bar Line goes out with a massive bang. Including DLC, the total tracklist numbers around half a thousand songs, drawn not only from the diverse assortment of games in the Final Fantasy series but also the larger Square Enix library in general. Even if you don’t touch the DLC, you’ve got a whopping 385 songs to enjoy here. The new tricks in the charts add a bit of excitement even to the old familiar songs, and the refreshed presentation looks great. If you like music games or Final Fantasy, you’ll want Theatrhythm Final Bar Line. If you like both, you probably already bought it.
SwitchArcade Score: 5/5
Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society ($49.99)
If you have a Nintendo Switch and enjoy dungeon-crawling RPGs, I sure hope you played Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk. It flew way under the radar, but it’s an excellent RPG with a strong story and extremely fun twists on the usual gameplay rules of this sub-genre. And wouldn’t you know it? Here’s the follow-up! Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society brings back the cool mechanics of the first game, most notably the versatile Coven system, and builds on them with some new ideas. When paired up with a very well-written tale, the result is another excellent RPG from the folks at Nippon Ichi Software.
A young woman named Eureka arrives at Galleria Mansion seeking employment. A job posting is seeking someone who is good at finding things, and she reckons she’s good at that. She soon meets the mysterious Madame Marta and a spirit (who is you) named Fantie, and the real nature of the task is revealed. With the help of Fantie and puppets known as Manana, she must explore the labyrinth underneath the manor to find the Curios it hides. There are more secrets waiting to be uncovered, and without spoiling anything, you’re in for a ride.
The dungeon exploration works as you would expect. You’re exploring in first person and wander around each floor, picking up treasure, battling enemies, and solving puzzles. The layouts are well-designed, with lots of interesting gimmicks and fun corners to check out. There are some genuinely tricky puzzles, too. Nothing too novel on this front, but it’s easy to drop the ball in this area and it’s nice that Labyrinth of Galleria didn’t. At first the combat might seem equally normal, as it follows a basic turn-based system with attacking, skills, defense, and so on. But it has its own quirks, partly tied into the way character progression works.
It’s one of those systems that is going to sound too complicated if I try to explain it in too much detail, but you’re given a great deal of flexibility in how you want to build your party of puppets thanks to Donum, Pacts, and the Coven system. Donum are sort of like skills or magic, Pacts function somewhat like this game’s version of a job class system, and Covens are like little parties within the party. Long-time readers will know that I love games like Final Fantasy 5 and Dragon Quest 3 where I can really dig my fingers into the proverbial dough and play with the various interactions of systems, and Labyrinth of Galleria, like its predecessor, allows me to do just that.
Intricate, complicated mechanics call for good tutorials, and if I have one bone to pick with Labyrinth of Galleria it’s in how poorly it handles that. This game loves to dump a ton of information about its mechanics on the player at one time, and it’s really hard to understand what it’s trying to get across because of how quickly it zips through things that probably needed a more hands-on teaching method. If you’re the kind of player who likes to tinker with systems on their own to figure them out, you’ll be in heaven. If you’re the sort that bounces off opaque gameplay concepts you’re probably going to struggle.
Despite its difficulty in explaining its complex systems, Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society is a fantastic RPG that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys the genre. Its systems are immensely satisfying to learn, its labyrinth floors a treat to explore, its encounters challenging and interesting, and the story is outstanding. It is, to an extent, a game that gives back the more you put in, but the patient player will find a bounty of rewards here for their efforts.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Non-Stop Space Probe ($1.99)
Fly your little space ship through forty levels avoiding obstacles. The ship can’t stop once it gets going, so you have to be careful. There are one hundred and twenty gems you can pick up along the way. Not much to it, but it’s only two bucks, so you get what you get.
Tama Cannon ($1.99)
You just have to shoot the little ball creature from cannon to cannon until you reach the golden star cannon and clear the level. There are sixty levels in all, and you’ll need to collect the coins strewn about as you go. Also not much to it, but it’s only two bucks, so you get what you get. Again.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Well, there are a few things in the new list today worth mentioning. Valiant Hearts is dirt cheap, Andro Dunos II and Ganryu II are nicely discounted for those with an itch for sequels to obscure NEOGEO games, and an assortment of Ubisoft games are on sale. The outbox has a few interesting things in it, but it’s small enough that I’ll let you go ahead and have a look on your own.
Select New Games on Sale
RWBY Arrowfell ($22.49 from $29.99 until 2/21)
RE: CALL ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/24)
Chasing Light ($15.19 from $18.99 until 2/27)
Valiant Hearts: The Great War ($1.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
NBA 2K23 ($19.79 from $59.99 until 2/27)
OddBallers ($14.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
Immortals Fenyx Rising Gold Edition ($19.99 from $99.99 until 2/27)
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope Gold ($70.00 from $89.99 until 2/27)
WorldWide FlightSimulator ($14.99 from $24.99 until 2/27)
Subnautica ($9.89 from $29.99 until 2/27)
Subnautica: Below Zero ($12.59 from $29.99 until 2/27)
The Diabolical Trilogy ($5.99 from $19.99 until 3/4)
From Space ($9.74 from $14.99 until 3/4)
7 Days of Rose ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/6)
Bones of Halloween ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/6)
Reflection of Mine ($1.99 from $7.99 until 3/6)
Aquadine ($11.99 from $19.99 until 3/6)
Strawberry Vinegar ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/6)
A Frog’s Job ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/6)
The Dark Prophecy ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/6)
4×4 Offroad Driver 2 ($9.74 from $12.99 until 3/10)
Kids Vs Parents ($21.99 from $24.99 until 3/10)
Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/10)
Andro Dunos II ($5.99 from $19.99 until 3/10)
Ultra Mega Xtra Party Challenge ($4.99 from $24.99 until 3/10)
Roof Jump Stunt Driver ($7.79 from $12.99 until 3/10)
Buddy Simulator 1984 ($6.66 from $9.99 until 3/10)
Instant Chef Party ($2.99 from $14.99 until 3/10)
Instant Sports All-Stars ($9.99 from $24.99 until 3/10)
Beasties ($1.99 from $14.99 until 3/10)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 21st
BPM Bullets Per Minute ($18.74 from $24.99 until 2/21)
Byte Cats ($7.19 from $11.99 until 2/21)
Dadish 3 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/21)
Demon Turf ($16.24 from $24.99 until 2/21)
Demon Turf Neon Splash ($4.24 from $4.99 until 2/21)
I Love Finding Critters ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/21)
Negative Nancy ($4.49 from $14.99 until 2/21)
Overlord: Escape from Nazarick ($19.49 from $29.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Cham the Cat Adventure (48.79 from $10.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Dungeon of Nazarick ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Oma2ri Adventure ($3.41 from $4.95 until 2/21)
PGMS Pearl Vs Grey ($6.39 from $7.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Rumble Dragon ($9.59 from $11.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Thunder Striker ($9.59 from $11.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Verzeus ($9.59 from $11.99 until 2/21)
Runefall 2 CE ($6.99 from $9.99 until 2/21)
RWBY Arrowfell ($22.49 from $29.99 until 2/21)
Stellar Interface: Deluxe ($2.39 from $15.98 until 2/21)
The Oregon Trail ($17.99 from $29.99 until 2/21)
Warp Shift ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/21)
That’s all for today, friends. I have another personal matter to take care of tomorrow, but I imagine I’ll be back in time to write the column. You can look forward to more new releases, more sales, and perhaps a review if things line up properly. I hope you all have a great Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!